« Nous aurions dû savoir que la fin était proche. Lorsqu'il s'est mis à pleuvoir de l'acide et que l'eau des rivières est devenue verte, nous aurions dû savoir que, bientôt, notre terre serait mort. » Quand ils sont arrivés à Kosawa, petit village d'Afrique de l'Ouest, les occidentaux n'avaient que le progrès, la prospérité à la bouche... Prospérité par le pétrole. Progrès par la pollution. Aujourd'hui, la jeunesse se révolte. A la suite de Thula, jeune femme libre et puissante, le village empoisonné se jette à l'assaut du capitalisme omnipotent.
Et si le combat paraît perdu d'avance, puissions-nous, au moins, vivre longtemps.
Pour ne pas l'oublier.
Ils ont traversé l'Atlantique pour vivre leur rêve, le vrai, l'américain.
Originaire du Cameroun, Jende Jonga sait que le sort de sa famille repose sur l'obtention d'un visa de travail. Des études pour sa femme, Neni, un avenir pour son fils, Liomi... Après plusieurs petits boulots clandestins, Jende croit enfin tenir sa chance : un job de chauffeur pour Clark Edwards, riche banquier de Manhattan. Mais nous sommes en 2007, et la crise des subprimes réserve, à tous, un réveil brutal...
Choc des cultures et quête du bonheur : le rêve que l'on poursuit n'est pas toujours celui qu'on croit...
''Sweeping and quietly devastating'' New York Times ''A David and Goliath story for our times'' O, the Oprah Magazine Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, this is the story of a people living in fear amidst environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Promises of clean-up and financial reparations are made - and broken. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight back. But it will come at a steep price - one which generation after generation will have to pay. How Beautiful We Were is a masterful exploration of what happens when the reckless drive for profit, coupled with the ghost of colonialism, comes up against one community''s determination to hold onto its ancestral land and a young woman''s willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of her people''s freedom.
WINNER OF THE 2017 PEN/FAULKNER AWARD A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR AN OBSERVER BOOK OF THE YEAR ''A formidable storyteller'' Jonathan Franzen ''Savage and compassionate in all the right places'' New York Times Book Review New York, 2007: a city of dreamers, all jostling for a place on the ladder of success. Jende Jonga, newly arrived from Cameroon, has just set his foot on the first rung. He is chauffeur to Clark Edwards, a senior partner at Lehman Brothers - a man too preoccupied to check the paperwork of his latest employee. Jende''s job draws him, his wife Neni and their young son into the privileged orbit of the city''s financial elite. And when Clark''s wife Cindy offers Neni work and takes her into her confidence, the couple begin to believe that the land of opportunity might finally be opening up for them. But there are troubling cracks in their employers'' facades, and when the deep fault lines running beneath the financial world are exposed, the Edwards'' secrets threaten to spill out into the Jonga''s lives. Faced with the loss of all they have worked for, each couple must decide how far they will go in pursuit of their dreams - and what they are prepared to sacrifice along the way.
From the celebrated author of the New York Times bestseller Behold the Dreamers comes a sweeping, wrenching story about the collision of a small African village and an American oil company. A novel with the richness and power of a great contemporary fable, and a heroine for our time.--Sigrid Nunez, author of The Friend , winner of the National Book Award We should have known the end was near. So begins Imbolo Mbues powerful second novel, How Beautiful We Were . Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, it tells of a people living in fear amid environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Promises of cleanup and financial reparations to the villagers are made--and ignored. The countrys government, led by a brazen dictator, exists to serve its own interests. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight back. Their struggle will last for decades and come at a steep price. Told from the perspective of a generation of children and the family of a girl named Thula who grows up to become a revolutionary, How Beautiful We Were is a masterful exploration of what happens when the reckless drive for profit, coupled with the ghost of colonialism, comes up against one communitys determination to hold on to its ancestral land and a young womans willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of her peoples freedom.